Manuel Vignau is an Argentine actor who has participated in three projects of director Marco Berger, who, as we have discussed on this site, specializes in telling stories of gay loves and heartbreaks, who meet in scenes of intense sexual tension . Vignau has participated in the short film “Una Ultima Voluntad”, and the features “Plan B” and “Hawaii”, and it’s often said that when this happens you’re a “fetish” actor. In this regard he told Universo Gay: “I do not consider myself a fetish actor, because for me fetish has to do with the worship of something or someone. I think having worked together several times, and will surely work again the field of cinema or otherwise, you must have a similar feeling for the work, it’s limited to that.”
How did this working relationship come about and how do you see the evolution of your works from that first short film to your latest release?
It happened by chance, through my friend and actor Lucas Ferraro (“Una Ultima Voluntad”, “Plan B”) who recommended me for the short, and it was our first encounter with Marco.
With regards to the filming, what do you remember from “Una Ultima Voluntad” and “Plan B”?
It is difficult to highlight a moment, there were days of work and a lot of effort, total concentration, participation and involvement in every detail.
In “Hawaii” the sexual tension so characteristic of Berger is exploited to the max. From the acting point of view, how did you prepare to create that environment, those awkward silences and situations of tension and nerves?
The basis of the the situation feature the bodies and the situations are worked one by one, after understanding the whole story and the journey of the character. “Tension” is cinema in the sense of the device, the artifice.
What have been the reactions of the audience that you had for your movies, as they can cause a lot of people identification?
It had and has great reception. I think it may cause some people to identify, while others don’t. I believe that with art you don’t have to identify with the story or a character. Land and Freedom, to give an example, has nothing to do with my life history, but I agree with essential things of that story which has to do with my genetic memory.
One of the characteristics of these embodiments is that the characters are not effeminate, as often happens in films and series including the gay theme. What could you tell us about it?
No, they are not. Effeminate or masculine not only has to do with the form, but has to do with the internal as well. The “effeminate” is associated with something weak, often in a pejorative sense. I don’t agree with it. In everything strong we find weak lines in everything weak there is strong.
How do you work and build these characters as an actor?
I build from the idea that for me you have what’s “true” in the bond, the external is derived from this.
Do you think the vision and acceptance has changed since the enactment of the Equal Marriage in Argentina and other countries?
Yes, it has changed. I notice it every day. Politics changes the lives of men, for better or for worse. To marry the person you love does not make politics, it substantially changes the construction of a human being and the social conventions. Argentina is an example of social rights in the world today, beyond that there are many other things vital in some cases, where progress should be deepened.
What are your plans and projects that you can tell us about and that you anticipate?
This year I filmed “La niña de tacones amarillos”, Luján Loioco’s debut film. I also expect the premieres of “Hawaii” and “Delta”, an experience I don’t know if it has been done before: with seven directors, seven planes sequences, filmed in four days, absolutely crazy … On the other hand, I’m doing the play “La Sala Roja” in Buenos Aires, which has to do with the world of education as regards kindergartens. A corrosive comedy by Victoria Hladilo, who also directs and acts. And these days I start rehearsing another play where I’m back in the role of the director which increasingly fascinates me more. Besides giving theater workshops, where we investigate some of the principles of performance from the creation of materials, which for me, is the greatest place of learning.